Bangalore pull it off: Bangalore Royal Challengers vs. Deccan Chargers

May 25, 2008

For an IPL match that was largely called a battle to avoid the wooden spoon, it entertained quite well.

The entertainment value was not top class, but it felt like standard cricket: not too euphoric, for the most part, and even boring sometimes, but not without fluttering a supporter’s heart.

The Bangalore Royal Challengers seemed to have carried on some momentum from their previous unbelievable win against Chennai. Without Zaheer and Praveen, one would have thought the bowling had chinks, but the local boys and under-19s contributed well to the line up. The team spirit seems to have gotten better over the past couple of games.

Gilchrist won the toss and chose to bat first. Dravid responded by opening the bowling with Kumble, a move that seemd to suggest that he has returned to thinking ways, as opposed to panicking. Risky? Yes. Payed off? Not completely, but the Kumble-Steyn combination stopped the Gilchrist-Gibbs pair get off to a flyer. The move almost payed off with Kumble appealing although unsuccessfully for lbw against Gibbs. It remained just a close one, which umpire Koertzen turned down. Steyn continued some his good work from the the last couple matches. While the Deccan run rate was kept down to 5-odd for the first couple of overs, the bowling change to Kallis brought some change in fortunes. Shortly after taking a pummelling, Kallis retired hurt causing worries for the bating. The local boy Vinay Kumar with U-19 Virat Kohli succeded in keeping the Deccans down as Bangalore regularly picked up wickets. Perhaps the biggest blow for the Deccan was losing the IPL star Rohit Sharma after he hurt himself while batting.

Going by Bangalore’s chasing record, going after 165 seemed tough, but there was some hope with Jaffer on top to lead some stability. However, Jaffer turned out to be the clown of the batting line up for first running himself out and then atrociously running out the injured but belligerent Kallis by some very lazy running. Misbah came settled down, thrilled and went. Dravid also came, threatened to lead the chase, thrilled indeed with a six and three consecutive fours- all priceless beauties (including a Misbah trademark cheeky reverse one), but departed by mis-timing one from Sanjay Bangar. It seemed to be over for Bangalore at that point with the asking rate creeping to over 10. However they weren’t destined for the wooden spoon. Thanks to some hitting from until-now indifferent White and Kohli, but mostly to Akhil for sealing it with 2 sixes towards the end of 18th over. At the end of the day, it was team work that did it for Bangalore: everyone chipped in when it was required.

Mallya! You spilled trash too soon. This team isn’t as bad as your mouth.

Go Bangalore! Go Dravid!


Top 10 reasons to watch the Tri-nation ODI series

February 3, 2008

At the outset, it seems like a fairly boring series. In fact, after the 20-20 World Cup, I’m finding the 50-over version to be a rather predictable and boring affair which takes too much time. Granted there is some entertainment in this form along the lines of batsmen getting centuries and stuff, but other than that, the 50-over version is losing its charm. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t completely bought into the T20 mania; the new ultra-short version is undoubtedly entertaining, but has its drawbacks. I think Test cricket on good pitches still rocks like none other.

Back to the point I was going to make; yes, the Commonwealth Bank Tri-series featuring India, Sri Lanka and Australia. I still feel compelled to watch parts of the series for the following reasons:

10. Bret Lee

9. M S Dhoni – media-handling 😛 after being defeated (I expect this to happen a good number of times with the “thin-as-ice” batting line up)

8. Lasith Malinga – bowling and hairstyle 🙂

7. Mahela Jayawardena – captaincy and batting

6. Murali’s bowling

5. Sanath Jayasuriya

4. Kumar Sangakkara

3. Ishant Sharma bowling to Ponting

2. Adam Gilchrist’s final ODI series

1. Sachin Tendulkar in sublime form

Cheers!


Gilchrist calls it a day

January 27, 2008

Adam Gilchrist’s retirement announcement came as a shock announcement for most fans, that too considering that he had been saying that he might pull on for just a little longer.

Gilchrist waves to the crowd

 Gilchrist waves to the crowd in farewell Source: Cricinfo

As for me, I was first shocked, then disappointed, then sad. Gilchrist has always been my favorite Aussie cricketer (and one of my favorite cricketer of all time) and to see him calling it a day is a little sad, but that is selfish of me.

I can’t recall the first innings of Gilly that I had watched, but I know I would have watched in awe. I distinctly recall the twinge of longing that I often had I when I watched Gilly – that India didn’t have such a consistently explosive batsman. The most recent of Gilly’s innings that comes to mind his mind-blowingly spectacular innings in the 2007 World Cup final against Sri Lanka. It was probably the most entertaining innings that I have seen till date, not just of him, but of any batsman.

Gilly has been a savage ODI bastman and a refreshingly attacking, dangerous Test bastmen: one who could single-handedly turn a Test match. To me, he not only redefined the approach to Test batting, he also redefined the wicket-keeper batsman’s role so much so that many teams, I guess, wanted to have someone at least resembling his skill level. Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara is an illustrious example of one who follows Gilly’s footsteps.

Another trait of Gilchrist that I admire is his courage: he would walk if he knew he was out, even if it was a World-Cup semi-final. In today’s world where ethics and values are often redifined for selfish gain, such honesty is to be lauded very highly.

At the end of the day, I will remember Adam Gilchrist for the entertainment he provided and for having the courage to be an honest cricketer.

Thank you all the wonderful memories, Gilly, and wish you all the best!